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served as an economic and commercial attaché in tripoli from 2004-2006, talks about the background to the 2011 uprisings in libya. it's about an hour and starts now here on booktv. .. >> about the idea of writing a book about a series of events that was literally just underway. and it was a pit -- bit of an
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issue trying to come up with a book proposal because we had absolutely no idea how this was going to end. but, i mean, the end as in the exit of gadhafi was reasonably clear to me, i thought. the beginning was, at least as far as the rapprochement between the u.s., the west and libya was a period which i had lived as a junior diplomat from 2004 to 2006 when a small group of us was sent to tripoli to, basically, lay the foundations for what became the embassy. i, you know, i've spent a lot of time in the middle east. sometimes i wonder whether i should have studied japanese back when i was if college because, you know, the degree of changeability and if i could say drama just, you know, continues.
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but, you know, there's a certain something about the reason about the people and the disparate cultures that is quite gripping, and the more you get into it, the more you become passionate about it. and i've certainly been very passionate about libya, and that's, essentially -- some of the reflections that i heard, the commentary that was made to me while i was posted in libya basically drove the desire to write this book because a number of people came up to me -- it was very surprising -- in different contexts whether they were taxi drivers, people who were poised to make lots of money as commercial, you know, middlemen between the regime and the private sector, former monarchy people, people who had been parliamentarians back in the '60s and said, look, you know, we understand that there's this rapprochement going on, but
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you realize thatyou don't -- this is your time to pin the regime and colonel gadhafi to the wall. if you don't expresses what you want from this and have a clear end goal, things will not work out well. and we're willing to say that even if we are poised to make a lot of money out of this. this wasn't the view of everyone, of course, but these kinds of hushed sort of warnings resonated very strongly with me. and i think are in some ways explained or increasingly explained by some of the news that we're hearing in retrospect about what actually went on during some period of the gadhafi regime. so, you know, the book, i think there were basically four takeaways, four main points that i try to make, and one of them
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is very, sort of has been brought into profile by the presidential debate and the whole issue of what happened in benghazi on september 11th which is the, what i call the myth of libya's irrelevance to u.s. policy. and i think over the course of, if you go back to the foundations of the libyan state in 1951, you know, u.s. relations with libya have been, you know, u.s. has always looked at libya as something of a strange creature that we could use with for certain -- use for certain, as a piece of a strategy that had to do with the region as a whole. it was never really looked at as an object -- the relationship was never seen as an object in and of itself. um, you know, it could start off with the relationship with the soviets, the eisenhower doctrine and the united states' desire to
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push back. libya was desperately pleading for u.s. attention back then, for aid to get itself together to be able to, you know, to stand on its own feet. this was before the discovery of oil. and the u.s. kind of took a, well, you know, you're really not as important as egypt, for example, and, you know, we'll think about it. and the result was that the prime minister at the time, you know, basically devised a plan to court the soviets and see if he could grab the united states' attention. and that happened. the next, you know, major event was the libya's and gadhafi's successful bid to change drastically the way that oil pricing was conducted by squeezing the independent oil companies -- occidental petroleum first and foremost -- into changing the system whereby there would be a 50/50 split and, basically, controlling
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interests by u.s. companies in libyan oil. and the consequence of that has come through to this day in terms of increasing the power of, the economic power of the gulf states, available b ya in particular. -- saudi arabia in paragraph. fast forward to the arab spring, you know, i think a very important point is that libya became a sort of, you know, obama in -- president obama in 2009 delivered his now-famous, you know, new beginnings speech in which he said he was going to stand with the arab people against tyranny and paid a number of very strong statements which he probably wasn't expecting to be called upon so soon. but, you know, at the time you had syria was looking, you know, as the sequential arab revolts came into being, there were very few places where the united states had an easy or even a
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sort of conceivable influence, edge to come in and do something where the consequences were not dramatic or at least, you know, there could be a positive, you know, egypt was a longtime ally, anchor in the middle east, supportive of israel. tunisia was a little bit -- by that point had already kind of crossed the threshold and ben ali was out. syria, the comparisons with libya are quite, you know, it's very different. it's a multisectarian society with lots and lots of, you know, connections to other powers, notably iran, lebanon, israel where disrupting or changing that relationship could have all sorts of consequences which are unknown. so libya presented a, was unique in that the libyans had -- especially if there was a popular uprising -- there was a
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program that had been put forth by a small group of people who had put themselves forward as sort of first unofficial but then increasingly official spokesmen of the people. there's a prom which doesn't -- a program which doesn't exist in syria at the moment. and this was an opportunity for, essentially, for president obama and the united states to make some good on much of the content of the 2009 speech. which is very important. i think people are potentially losing sight of that. the second takeaway, i think, is the question of intelligence and what we've known about what's going on in libya for the past 42 years. and it's remarkably little. you know, this is, i think of it also as a symptom of particular countries that go into sanctions blackouts because once, you
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know, once that happens, you basically institutionally lose some knowledge which is not regenerated this time as time goes on. and i think that's, you know, when situations change and there needs to be some repository of knowledge upon which you can draw to figure out what's going on, it's not there because the place has been off the map for quite some timement -- time. and i think that lack of institutional knowledge complicated the u.s. response to what was going on not only in remember -- libya, but in other countries, arab spring countries. the third interesting thing i think is very interesting is the issue of the rapprochement between the u.s. and libya being, actually, the straw that broke the camel's back. sorry for the -- [laughter] in the sense that, you know, gadhafi made a series of agreements with the united states which he thought was
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going to save his regime. and there were a number of consequences of that, of those decisions both for the u.s. and for libya which did not turn out exactly as he wanted. i'll go into that in a little more detail later. but, you know, i date the end of the regime really to the nature of the agreement that was made between the united states and -- in particular, but the west in general and libya in 2003. the forty -- the fourth takeaway is the importance of follow through which relates to all the points i made before. okay, there's success in libya, as far as -- this is my opinion, and certainly others share it, but i think this is one president obama's major successes. the danger is that once -- as time goes on, as the political vacuum moves forward and sort of
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grassroots processes move forward if they don't move forward fast enough, you are going to have a major problem. and we're seeing, you can see evidence of that starting, you know, as we speak. i think that in general i continue to be optimistic about libya's future. you have, you know, the country is, has a very small population, six million people. it's got tremendous oil wealth, 78 billion barrels of proven reserves. they're already back to their prewar production. and, you know, one of the most striking things is the political transitions that have taken place in terms of going from a nonelected representation and articulation of goals to an elected, an elected -- a transitional government and then an elected government both on the national and the local levels.
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and that's -- you don't see that elsewhere. at least not in as striking a fashion. in the rest of the book, i talk quite a bit about the personality of gadhafi and what motivated him. many people argue that the personalities of of the dictators themselves don't matter. in the case of libya, i don't think that's quite true. gadhafi was a mercurial, i believe a quite intelligent person who had certain fixations and -- [laughter] i'll try to be diplomatic here because i'm -- [laughter] but there's a lot of strangeness there which motivated his behavior in ways which i think or were so bizarre or that many of the people who are looking at this from the u.s. policy side really -- it's not in a way they were accustomed to thinking about things. and that poalzed problems when you -- posed problems when you
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try to anticipate what he was going to do or respond to him. for example, you know, after the 1986 bombing in benghazi and in tripoli, gadhafi was rumored to have of gone into a tremendous funk for a period of several months and was really incapacitated. and, you know, if you fast forward, this is something that looks like happened after the beginning of the revolution. so, you know, and that mentality seemed to have provoked an incessant or a very deep-rooted feeling that he would like, that he needed to somehow both retaliate and then once he retaliated, to exonerate himself. so if you look at the sort of major events in u.s./libya relations for the years after the late '80s, you know, you have the lockerbie bombing which
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was a seminal, you know, event in what would come next, plunging libya into a period of extended sanctions. so the, you know, that -- everything, all of the negotiations with the west that happened after that point were somehow once he was fingered for the lockerbie, that criminal act, everything that was done -- the bulgarian nurses' case is one example. we could talk about that a bit later. but there were a number of actions taken which were designed in some way to mitigate or deflect respondent for that -- responsibility for that act and to try to get himself back into the good graces of if not his own people, then the
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outside world. so that's -- i'd like to talk a little bit about the, you know, in terms of the actual disintegration of the regime, and, again, i think the lockerbie bombing was a tremendous marker there in the sense that it produced, it created a period for libya in which there were, essentially, you know, the place was hermetically sealed. gadhafi was left to stew in his own juices, you know, oil export revenues declined greatly, he was unable to purchase weapons at the same rate. you know, his range of maneuver in the outside world was greatly curtailed, and i think that personally affected him greatly, and it certainly affected the people around him who, you know, wanted to be able to travel to spend their, you know, the
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income that they got from his patronage. that environment created an atmosphere as well in which the islamic opposition could take greater root and was, essentially, you know, became more or and more vir you lent. there were a number of events which because of our lack of understanding of what was going on in libya would in retrospect signal a, you know, to people who were watching this that things were not going well in libya, that essentially the people were getting increasingly frustrated with gadhafi and had the potential to be, to explode. you have the -- another seminal event was the pass kerr in -- massacre in 1996 in which 1250 people were killed. this was by gadhafi's head of --
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under the supervision allegedly of gadhafi's head of internal intelligence. this was very important because the victims of that massacre were primarily political prisoners and from the eastern part of the country. and the east, you know, in a very tightly-knit tribal society an act of that magnitude basically created a cascading resentment which came to haunt gadhafi, basically. this was -- that was a major event in creating resentment against the regime. by 1997 benghazi was essentially in a state of siege. it was a very large barracks that was in the center of the town known as the fist of gadhafi, and this was of sort of, you know, it was basically
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occupied in many degrees o occupied territory. which, fast forward, you know, this explains a bit more of this east/west distinction was very important in proving the spark of the rebellion. um, another and perhaps the most critical inflection point in this was the, in gadhafi's ultimate sort of downward trajectory was the u.s. war in iraq. because once this was underway, you know, the state was set for two competing and rather disingenuous narratives. one told by gadhafi to his own people, one told by the bush administration and the west to its people. the west, the story, you know, put forth by -- on our side was that gadhafi was, essentially,
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unrepen tent up until the point about lockerbie and other terrorist activities and his weapons of mass destruction until the point where e saw saddam -- he saw saddam hussein pulled out of the spider hole. and -- [laughter] the problem, of course, was that gadhafi had been suing for peace essentially with the u.s. since -- documented efforts dating back to 1982 just after the sanctions were starting to be, the u.n. sanctions started to kick in. and there were at least ten documented attempts by gadhafi or gadhafi's representatives to get the international community to agree to let him back in, to create the conditions for rapprochement. so that narrative's quite accurate. the question of weapons of mass destruction as well, i mean,
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gadhafi had a tendency for many years to collect large amounts of weapons which were either defective or which nobody knew how to use, and this was, this was of not -- again, i'm not a nuclear expert, but certainly i think i've read most of the public sources on this subject, and the consensus that i see, well, there isn't a consensus, but there is a strong feeling among many very prominent scientists that, in fact, and observers that gadhafi was extraordinarily, was very far from a nuclear weapon. and further, the u.s. really wasn't, the policy community really wasn't very concerned about gadhafi. which is the other thing. gadhafi believed that constantly that the u.s -- that he was the focus of u.s. attention or should be and, you know, that he must do something to escape this, what would undoubtedly be
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a very unpleasant consequence for himself. to the libyan people, of course, here the concept of linkage came in which gadhafi would basically use rapprochement to say, look, i've managed to pull a rabbit out of a hat. we were under sanctions for eight-plus years depending on which entity we're talking about, and i've managed to get myself out of it. enough. and libya will be a prosperous country moving forward. you know, there were some moments of, i think, indiscretion confessed to us that they were all stunned that this agreement took place, and, you know, today never believed that this rapprochement could actually happen. of course, the u.s., you know, looking -- here's where i think one of my major arguments in the book was that the regime, the administration of the united states was so eager at this point to try to find a positive
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result from the iraq war that they were willing to basically leave and to gain information that would lead to, you know, fortified counterterrorism policy. and the bonus of the weapons of of mass destruction, counterproliferation issue. all this stuff was fantastic and, you know, we could leave the details til later. which was, in my view, a huge mistake. if you look at the lockerbie agreement itself which dictated, you know, dictated the terms under which the payments to the victims of pan am 103 were dispersed, each of those thingses -- the agreement itself was negotiated between lawyers on the side of the family and the libyan government. the united states was not a party to that agreement. yet that agreement made it very clear that monies would not be transferred unless certain diplomatic objectives were in
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the relationship had been -- milestones had been reached. so, essentially, gadhafi in typical fashion turned his worst enemies, his greatest anti, you know, lobby into one of his greatest tools for getting out of the mess he was in. and this process continued into many other incidents which i talk about at great length in the book. so, essentially, so you have these divergent narratives. you know, the other issue is that, in fact, as we were trying to -- the issue of human rights seemed to take a great backseat to the exigencies of those other goals that i just mentioned. um, and, you know, in retrospect as information came out about the rendition programs that were
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run by the cia, for example, to bring individuals to libya, deliver them for torture, you know, if you' re looking at a policy of trying to pressure gadhafi towards economic reform and improved human rights, all he has to do is say, look, you know, you're giving us -- look what you're doing. i mean, it undermines the premise that actual reform is the, and human rights are one of your major goals. very interesting portion of the story, i think, is the question of the makeover which is, that's a title of one of the chapters which is once both parties -- libyans and the u.s -- agreed that this was the path going forward, a story had, a joint story had to be created. and, of course, gadhafi was not
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exactly the best character actor for reform. so, you know, somebody else needed to be found to play that role. and who better than his so-called heir apparent? he was one of many, you know, seven siblings, and many of them came into their adulthood during this very time of rapprochement. and one thing needed to be done with them, they needed to have some sort of a role. and he was the most charismatic by many accounts, the most intellectually curious of all of them and had been spared some of the, some of the influences that were brought to bear on some of his brothers who took other
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courses, you know? so the issue -- here the central issue that, actually, and i don't with take a stand in the book about what his intentions were. he developed a rather or long resumé of reform-building efforts over the course of the first years of the rapprochement from, you know, hostage negotiation to helping set up new media companies that were pushing the envelope of what could b be said under this regime, and, you know, he became sort of the advocate for the disenfranchised or the oppressed or the victims of some of gadhafi's more atrocious acts. the question of how far he really wanted to go, did he really see libya becoming a new
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malaysia -- you know, what was the model he was following? many people have commented on this. again, what's most interesting for me in the book is the fact that through his efforts and regardless of what that, again, of what value judgment or what goal he was looking towards, he created a group of people that became almost like an intermediate class of regime/nonregime people who were recognized by the people as reformers and could play an active role in solidifying the, at the very least the appearance of reform, and probably to some extent, you know, reform up to a point. basically, economic reform. gadhafi sr. made it very clear he was never willing to compromise on the issue of political reform. and all of the sort of, the very entering set of conversations between -- interesting set of conversations and the various
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sources that i quote in the book that describe the, you know, the sort of arguments and disputes and negotiations to some degree between the people that he chose to advance some of his reformist policies and, you know, what gadhafi sr. was willing to permit. and gradually as time went on, there was more and more of a feeling that by some of gadhafi's longer-term aides that-not good, and he was going too far. -- that this was not good, and he was going too far. but when the revolution actually occurred, and i think this is a critical fact, you know, these, this group of individuals was able to play a kind of a mediating role and convince -- and actually make a case to the united states that through individuals like ambassador stevens and secretary clinton that there was actually someone to talk to. -- >> we're having some technical trouble with the program you're
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with -- >> the head of the economic development board, part of some safe efforts became the, you know, the foreign minister/prime minister under the national transitional council and is now the head of the largest, you know, essentially nonislamic party in, political party in libya right now. um, this -- you know, you could say that these -- [inaudible] was the human rights lawyer who interacted very frequently with mustafa jalil, the president of the ntc and the person who launched that period in recent history. you know, this was of a group of people that knew each other, they communicated with each other, they all had their own causes and networks, and if you're talking about social networks as a factor in the arab spring states in terms of libya, it really wasn't facebook or
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twitter or things like this, it was al-jazeera and al-jazeera brought the spotlight to what was going on in libya when no one else knew exactly what was happening. um, but these networks, these individuals managed to, essentially, do what he may not have been able to do if only because he was the son of moammar gadhafi. so, you know, the rest of the book talks about the actual up folding of the revolution which is really a fantastic story. i mean, the whole question of what was happening in benghazi and tripoli, you know, in the early, early days after the rest of texas -- turbil on the 15th of february. it's really quite a stunning story, and i don't think it's been told in english to this n this degree of detail. and i tried very hard. i interviewed lots of people in
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benghazi, you know, officials here and in europe, but mainly relied on local sources. .. >> susan rice who wanted to be looking for opportunity to implement a responsible agent to protect scenario that would succeed.
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so that's a whole section again, and how to become to intervene and why was is actually a good idea. the next question of course is the one everyone is talking about is where is libya headed next. you know, i think with regards to what happened in benghazi, it is still, i think one needs to take, regardless of all the chaos that is happening, to step back, go up several thousand feet and look at this process over a much longer period of time. we are still a year into this revolution. nobody really expected -- i think many libyans expected this is going to be a shorter and more pleasant experience than it has been an urban construct with a very -- at the same time, in my trips to libya over the last two years i've seen a remarkable story of people, people of
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ex-patriots have come back and drop everything, lucrative jobs in europe and states to help build infrastructure. the way in which the local elections were held in benghazi in may, it was excellent glory. there's always, there's a counter storage almost everything but this is still quite -- there are number of things to be very optimistic about. i think the fact that there were tens of thousand of people who, after the assassination, killing, assassination of ambassador stevens to to the streets in benghazi and protest against extremism, they were a little slow on the uptake when the shrines were being decimated in tripoli, but there was this palpable sense that our revolution is being hijacked and we're going to do something about it. i'm also interested to see how,
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you know, there's a potential parallel right now between what's happened in benghazi and the attack, and what happens back in july of 2011, when the rebel commander was assassinated in benghazi. that event precipitated, tripoli will still not liberated. people were thinking this is the end of the revolution, gadhafi will come back and wipe everybody out. in fact, what happened was that mustafa, the head at the time, used that as a means to us -- quieting his detractors and helping move forward the onslaught on tripoli. so the extent to which it now we have, appears to be a progressive, more forceful, i'm saying that qualifying, i don't
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have as much detail as i would like, prime minister, there's an opportunity here to maybe, maybe something, something better will come out of this in the near future. anyway, very happy to take any questions at [inaudible] >> thank you. i know that many of us have questioned outages ask that you wait until the microphone comes to you. identify yourself. >> this. i'm tired or. we hear a lot about tribal militias reaching unpredictable havoc here and there and making things very unpredictable and messy. can you comment on that? >> well, the militias are certainly making things complicated and messy. that's sure. essentially, you know, the
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revolution was one in pockets. each region basically had its own militia. many regions have their own. of course, a region is usually tied to some degree, not completely, to a tribal identi identity, which then can be used as a trigger for conflict with the neighboring tribal identity. ms. roza which was very much in the news, a coastal town, suffered shelling relentless shelling by loyalist forces for many weeks. that predated a tremendous degree of resentment and essentially they are now, this is no conflict between renewed conflict between the misratah commission and a loyalist stronghold. those contentions can easily deteriorate. they will spread to other areas. the real problem right now, security is issue number one.
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the problem is the militias are also, despite their many colors, from good to bad or whatever and however you would judge them are the guarantee years of security in a locality. at what point is that transition occur. there have been efforts to many thousands of people, rebels have been integrated into the national army, there have been weapons selection programs, things like this in libya, so much weaponry to do even the most successful weapon collection program only many, many more under them. it's a huge problem. sorry, but i hope that answers somewhat. >> david marr sure. my question has to do with, do the means justify the ends?
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and this was a civil war which was contained completely within libya. granted, america and certainly europe had tremendous financial interest. my question for you really is what are the future political consequences of our having acted in internal affairs in this country, and what type of precedent has this that? >> excellent question. i would actually answer that first by saying that the united states and the west was not a neutral party in libya. and, in fact, from the moment that sanctions were lifted, and particularly first the u.n. sanctions and then the eu, arms embargo in 2004, a flood of weaponry came into libya. most of it was over a billion
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dollars, which in absolute terms may not be that great but relative to what was there before and what the purpose is, what it was used for, created, i was an unfair playing field. you couldn't say that we were, your, this was not a usual issue a source we were concerned. that process, and i argue, as i argue in the book, was very much tied to the whole issue of ask not, putting accountability in place for, you know, what we would get, what gadhafi would not do as a result of the agreements that were signed with him. a lot of people, i think that weaponry, again, small arms, surveillance equipment, all of the sort of things you'd need to put down a popular revolt was put in the hands of the regime, essentially due to complicity
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and lack of attention by parties in the west. so that's one, one thing. as far as what president, civil war, you know, civil wars are, you know, that's a key question, and i don't -- the preponderance come in, the rebels themselves managed to present a case that ask for production, the whole issue of the responsibility is to i assume you're referring to, going beyond the responsibility protect civilians, and blank -- >> [inaudible] >> well, i think in this case in terms of the responsibility protect doctrine is one of the reasons the united states wanted to intervene on some level, if
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this conflict was to beef up the case for the doctrine. the international law is a fuzzy sort of subject to some degree, and it's built on a large degree on president. i have to say, the united states intervene in libya back in the early 1800s to support basically, fund our rebellion in benghazi that within move forward and then take out the unfriendly -- >> [inaudible] >> they were attacking our ships, yes. i mean, we could -- but what would've happened if, here's the preventative doctrine also. what would've happened, president obama made his comments in the debate last i, if we had left gadhafi in power, you know, agitated with his
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moods and tendency to blow up lots of airplanes, you know? i think that would've been an absolute disaster. i may come not a -- i'm not an international lawyer. i'm not in a position to debate the finer points of that but i think effectively there was, this was a well played intervention that was -- everything else, on the moral side. if we had responsibly in some way to do even the playing field because we were responsible to large degree in and powering gadhafi for several years. and giving him the means of which to suppress his own people. >> [inaudible] >> i know i'm going to get black. >> in the perspective of the success of a nato in force u.s. no-fly zone in libya, i'd like to ask you the same question that bob schieffer asked the two
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candidates last night. and that was, it sort of snuck by most people. what about a no-fly zone in syria? and that military differences, the russian imported aircraft, sophisticated things, but the answer that both romney and obama gave was no. no military involvement. a no-fly zone is a step toward a military environment, but not a full military environment. what would be your answer to that question? >> well, frankly, i think that coming in, this is, some of what, of the calculation that went into the intervention in libya was that if we intervene in libya we will have to intervene in syria because we've already done this. that's a little bit too flip, but that's one -- but personally i'd, you know, if i were in a position, i would be in favor of a no-fly zone. i think that -- so would the
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turks. they're saying you are repeating history over and over again. what i think is problematic is, a certain caliber weapons to opposition which we don't know exactly who they are. repeating a bad precedent. you don't want those weapons to fall into the wrong hands. what's happened to the 20,000 surface-to-air missiles that were supposedly in gadhafi -- all other answer to that, but yeah, i mean, i would think that if you're going to follow that rationale, ultimately that would make sense. safe havens. >> i would like to ask you if you give detail -- unser, howard. i would like to ask if you get
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some detail, i think on your second point you said in your book that is to say, you said that the agreement that gadhafi made with the united states really contributed to the road in his power and creating the situation in libya. maybe by an example could you tell us what you mean by that? how exactly does that work? and then, and then i wonder if you would just evaluate that in terms of whether you think that that technique of making an agreement with the tyrant might be useful in other situations, that can't that same kind of mechanism would be able to work to erode this power. >> well, you know, i think there was tremendous amount of disagreement, discord in washington about what, the terms of these essentially multiple
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agreements with gadhafi. and one of the arguments that i heard from several senior officials was that, look, any light into that darkness would eventually create, give people new ideas, they'll understand better what's on the outside that they don't have these things. that argument is fairly prominent. i think in the case of libya, you know, another, you know, the notion that people don't rebel when they are under the most severe pressure, scrambling to get their basic needs. they're a bit more aware how some level of resources to act. and i think by what that agreement, but this agreement does is it gives the libyan people some breathing space, and allowed for networks that of
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talk about before, the ability for people who otherwise would not communicate with each other, all the victims, the benghazi of the benghazi scandal which was an affection of -- numbers are a bit very, but hiv which have the former regime members are claiming was a deliberate act. on the part of the regime. these individuals such as -- the sort of luminaries of the immediate post-revolution were all part of these campaigns. mainly the person is probably coming out and sing we'll give you a little more room in order to air your grievances. when you air your grievances you will get that out of your system. we will pay you compensation and we'll all be back into the fold. but what it actually did, when the things became, when the events in tunisia broke out in
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egypt, i think that empowered, the net result was there were the slightest indication which could readily link these various people together into some kind of a cohesive temporary command center. does that and you question a little bit? and i think that yes, you could apply that to north korea presumably, but how do you, how do you do that? i don't know. with olivia there was an opportunity and gadhafi had a really strong motive. >> i'm david hunt. you've been in benghazi. your group is building a trauma center there. i wonder if you'd comment on the assassination of ambassador stevens. teasing, for example, that the state department was wise and letting them even go down there? given it was 9/11.
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>> i may, 9/11 it seems to me that everybody in washington or maybe even in libya forgot there's a big anniversary coming up. and as you know, you in the embassy there when the chief mission goes off, since offer cable, and they concur or not. it just seems to me that he walks into a lions den without anybody really being aware of what the situation was. well, just a minor note. our efforts in benghazi were actually to catalyze partnership between a couple of teaching hospitals in the united states and the local counterpart in benghazi your so ted claim to be building a trauma center. was facilitated a number of training programs we hope will go forward. but as far as what was going on there, you know, i have written
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the piece also in which i argued that there some systemic issues. that's not a romney-obama issue. this is sort of a systemic issue within several u.s. government agencies which sends people out into the field, that you tend to have this super response to certain situations where you got the forgers and people can barely get in and out. people ask what the heck are they doing there, versus transitional installations, whether -- when i first got to libya, it wasn't an embassy. we were living in a hotel. the state department doesn't tend to cope with the situation as well as maybe much, and i think that was maybe, you can like secretary clinton came forward and said basically some level she is taking
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responsibility for the. and presumably there will be investigations and people will look into how, to better protect, you know, to make the bureaucracy works better to protect u.s. diplomats. one has to say against that, if you look at the record of how many members of foreign service have been killed in light of the our ambassadors, very few. must be doing a good, a very good job in many instances, but that seems to be certain types of situations which are more prone, to be breakdowns. i will say when a station in tripoli, we had virtually no protection whatsoever. we wrote very similar cables, yes, we understand gadhafi security apparatus is prevalent, but does that mean that we are not exposed? a lot of people were relieved when our tours were over for that reason. there are anecdotes, anecdotes
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from all over the place, all over -- there are several, the middle east, the fact is the state department is being asked to put more and more people in more and more dangerous situations. there is a limited budget. congress has a lot to do with that. congress -- some the same people refusing to authorize funds for the. some of the arguments that were given in favor of, and defense, not quite, you know, it's a complicated issue. because of budgets and -- the president, the congress and the state department. budget and to your question even more directly, i don't know why, you know, we were certainly concerned for when we went in there, the anniversary of september 11, not a great time. we didn't do ourselves that we were as, we were not prominent targets but we are westerners,
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and we stick out in a place like benghazi. there had been, there's a pattern of attacks in benghazi over the course of the previous six months and practically all of them were high profile from either local officials or international diplomats. so one would have to say that was, you know, a prominent target. so unexplained -- i haven't heard any convincing answers as to why that was the case. cultural center, he wasn't in benghazi to meet with us, because i'd heard when i arrived, that may have been through various, you know, the media, various places. i think there's so much misinformation running around, given the campaign and the rest of it, you know, that may be somewhat natural, i don't know. i assume the answer will come out.
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>> susan fall. i was just curious when you said the oil production was up, back to normal, or when it was before. who is getting the profits from all that oil at this point? >> well, you know, libya as an operating arm as been very difficult. and interesting fact is, many months before the revolution, a couple of major u.s. oil companies have declined to renew their licenses. the libyans have made it very difficult for u.s. companies to include some other astronomical early investments, signing bonuses for purpose of exploration licenses. basically at the moment, yeah, the production is underway. the administrative processes were converting that money over
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to the civil sector, budgets and into the hands of people who need -- in libya, is not working properly. as far as the oil companies themselves, i'm sure they're taking care of themselves. libya is ultimately, yeah, it's got the largest reserves in africa. much of the land is still unexplored because people have been in there for very long. i don't think there's going to be any shortage of long-term interest in libya on the part of the u.s. oil companies, related outfits. >> i thank you for very much a limiting some of promise in libya, and i invite the rest of you -- >> is there a nonfiction author about you like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail at otb at or tweet us at >> we're here with jefferson morley, author of "snowstorm in
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august: washington city, francis scott key, and the forgotten race riot of 1835". what happened in washington, d.c. in 1835? >> really francis scott key was a district attorney, and the city authorities lost all control of the city. this was the beginning of the conflict over slavery, the ideological conflict over slavery, and the white population started attacking the free black population that was active in the anti-slavery movement. and it was widespread disorder, so he was responsible and this was a great humiliation both for him and for the city. >> this started with arthur bowen. who was arthur bowen speak with arthur bowen was a servant, 19 years old in the home of ana maria thorton, a well-known woman in washington. and he was alleged to have attacked her in her bedroom at night with an ax. it was a sensational news, this shocking attack, allegedly
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attacked, that set off the white population to attack the black population. but, in fact, there was no attack. >> and how did they find out? >> eventually arthur went on trial, and all of washington was startled when mrs. thorton rose to the defense of the man who allegedly tried to kill her and said, i know this boy. he grew up in my house under know he would never intended to harm me. he was a drunk but he never raised an ax against me. he was convicted anyway, but because of her persistent desire to free him, she managed to get a pardon from president jackson, and arthur bowen was saved from execution. >> so he received a pardon from president jackson. what was your connection to the president? >> she was the widow of a man named william thorton who was the man who have designed the u.s. capital. william thorton was a friend of george washington, a friend of thomas jefferson.
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she was friends with the dolly madison and james madison. and so she had entrée to the white house. share the ability. she is all of her connection to rescue this boy from death row. >> you have a very particular title, "snowstorm in august." so what's the snowstorm? >> the snowstorm was the name local people gave to the riots afterwards. because the right, one of the targets of the ride was a man named beverly snow, a free black manhood a restaurant, very successful. and this idea of a successful free black man in the capital, slaveholding capital of washington in created white people. and so, ma the right was really about him and about his success. and also about arthur bowen's violence. and so afterwards people called the ride the snowstorm. >> what was the result of this in regards to francis scott key's career as an attorney?
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>> he was a very ambitious guy. the right kind of took the wind out of his sails. it was a humiliation for them. he lost control of the city. he continued to serve as a district attorney for the city of washington for four more years under president van buren. but he never aspired to higher things the way he had before under president jackson. >> speaking with jefferson morley, author of "snowstorm in august: washington city, francis scott key, and the forgotten race riot of 1835". thanks so much. >> thank you. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2. here's our primetime lineup for tonight. ..
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